December 3-9, 2010
By Dr Robert Goldman
Longevity News and Review provides readers with the latest information in breakthroughs pertaining to the extension of the healthy human lifespan. These news summaries are compiled by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M; www.worldhealth.net), a non-profit medical society composed of 22,000 physician and scientist members from 105 nations, united in a mission to advance biomedical technologies to detect, prevent and treat aging related disease and to promote research into methods to retard and optimise the human aging process. Dr Robert Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., D.O., FAASP, A4M Chairman, and Dr Ronald Klatz, M.D., D.O., A4M President, physician co-founders of the anti-aging medical movement, distil these headlines and provide their commentary.
Vitamin B ‘Slashes Brain Changes’
Brain shrinkage (atrophy) is accelerated in people experiencing memory issues, including Alzheimer’s disease. In that homocysteine is a risk factor for brain atrophy, A. David Smith, from University of Oxford, and colleagues explored whether Vitamin B supplementation could slow the rate of brain atrophy in people with mild cognitive impairment. The team enrolled 168 men and women, ages 70 years and older, administering high doses of folic acid, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12 daily, for a 24-month period. Measuring the rate of brain atrophy by MRI, the team found that the daily Vitamin B supplementation reduced brain shrinkage associated with dementia by up to 53 percent. Writing that: “The accelerated rate of brain atrophy in elderly with mild cognitive impairment can be slowed by treatment with homocysteine-lowering B vitamins,” the researchers posit that: “Since accelerated brain atrophy is a characteristic of subjects with mild cognitive impairment who convert to Alzheimer’s disease, trials are needed to see if the same treatment will delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease.”
Dr Klatz observes: Vitamin B supplementation helps to reduce the rate of brain shrinkage, a process that is implicated in memory disorders including Alzheimer’s disease. This finding holds important potential interventive implications.
Activity May Cut Heart-Failure Risk
A large-scale study reveals that the risk of developing heart failure drops steadily as the level of physical activity at work increases. Gang Hu, from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, and colleagues assessed the levels of occupational, commuting, and leisure-time physical activity in 28,334 Finnish men and 29,874 Finnish women, ages 25 to 74 years, who participated in population surveys conducted in Finland starting in the early 1970s and did not have heart failure at the study’s start. After a mean follow-up of 18.4 years, heart failure developed in 1,868 men and 1,640 women. The researchers observed that, after adjusting for confounding factors, there was a significant overall trend for lower risk of heart failure associated with increasing levels of physical activity at work. This association was particularly significant for men who had high levels of occupational activity and women who had moderate levels of the same. Additionally, the team found strong associations for both moderate and high levels of leisure-time physical activity among both the male and female subjects, and among women there was some evidence that either walking or biking to work may reduce the risk of heart failure as well. Overall, those subjects who engaged in high levels of more than one type of physical activity had greater reductions in heart-failure risk. Among those who had high levels of all three types of physical activity – at work, while commuting, and during leisure time, heart-failure risk was slashed by 31 percent of men and 34 percent of women. The team concludes that: “Moderate and high levels of occupational or leisure-time physical activity are associated with a reduced risk of [heart failure].”
Remarks Dr Goldman: Researchers reveal that the risk of developing heart failure drops steadily as the level of physical activity at work increases, thereby reaffirming the benefits of such occupational exertion.
Blueberries Could Reduce Diabetes
Blueberries are rich in flavonoids, a type of antioxidant compound, and in-particular the antioxidants known as anthocyanins and flavanols. William T. Cefalu, from Louisiana State University, and colleagues enrolled 32 obese, non-diabetic, and insulin-resistant men and women, average age of 51.5 years and an average BMI of 37.4 kg/m2, in a six-week study. Subjects either received a smoothie containing 22.5 grams of blueberry bioactives or a placebo blend equal nutritional value. Subjects consumed two smoothies daily for six weeks. At the end of the study, the team found that 67 percent of subjects who consumed the blueberry smoothie experienced at least a 10-percent or greater favourable change in insulin sensitivity. The researchers propose that: “Daily dietary supplementation with bioactives from whole blueberries improved insulin sensitivity in obese, nondiabetic, and insulin-resistant participants.”
Comments Dr Klatz: In finding that bioactive compounds in blueberries increase insulin sensitivity, these researchers reveal a viable nutrient intervention to reduce the risk of diabetes in at-risk individuals.
Anti-aging medicine is the fastest-growing medical specialty throughout the world and is founded on the application of advanced scientific and medical technologies for the early detection, prevention, treatment and reversal of age-related dysfunction, disorders and diseases. It is a healthcare model promoting innovative science and research to prolong the healthy lifespan in humans. As such, anti-aging medicine is based on solid scientific principles of responsible medical care that are consistent with those applied in other preventive health specialties. The goal of anti-aging medicine is not to merely prolong the total years of an individual’s life, but to ensure that those years are enjoyed in a productive and vital fashion.
Visit the A4M’s World Health Network website, at www.worldhealth.net, to learn more about the A4M and its educational endeavours and to sign up for your free subscription to the Longevity Magazine™ e-Journal.